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    Affordable houses for all: still a distant dream for people of KP

    Affordable houses for all: still a distant dream for people of KP

    PESHAWAR (APP): Besides climate change, shabby economy and population bulge, Pakistan was also confronted to the monster challenge of providing affordable housing facility to all its citizens.

    As the country’s population has crossed the psychological barrier of 240 million mark in May this year, which means that about 10 million housing units including 2.5 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be required by 2040.

    “Affordable housing was the fundamental right of all citizens of Pakistan where rapid population growth, migration from rural to urban areas, high construction and land cost factors have largedly contributed to houses backlog,” said Professor Dr Z.A Malik, former Chairman, Ecomics Department, Unversity of Pakistan while talking to APP.

    He said the current demand for new housing units was growing at the rate of 600,000 houses per year and if we add five lakh more houses than 1.1 million units per annum would be required to clear the existing backlog of 10 million houses in next 17 years.

    He said the housing gap in Punjab was estimated at 2.3 million units in 2017 and is expected to skyrocket to 11.3 million units by 2047. 

    He said half of all urban households were overcrowded or live in informal settlements with inadequate access to basic infrastructure, civic facilities and services while formal housing was almost out of reach of the people.

    Dr Malik said the rapid urbanization of the agricultural land turned the fertile land into unplanned towns and societies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially in Peshawar, Mardan, Abbottabad,  Swat, Kohat, DI Khan and Nowshera.

    He said housing problems would further aggravate in Peshawar where urban population has reached 1.970 million and is estimated that it will reach up to 2.80 million by 2030 that would eat up more agriculture land.

    As a result of shortage of housing units, the price of five marla house in Peshawar has crossed Rs20 million and rent to Rs40,000 that was beyond purchasing capacity of common man and low paid employees.

    Ikhtair Wali, spokesman of PMLN told APP that PTI government has made tall claims to construct 5 million houses but failed to complete its promises.

    He said poor housing policies of PTI rulers increased housing problem and property prices in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Muhammad Waqas Anjum, Assistant Director, Provincial Housing Authority (PHA), told APP that under Naya Pakistan Housing Program, a survey regarding shortfall of houses were conducted revealing that five million houses of five marla were required in Pakistan including 7,50,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  

    He said 2,62,500 kanal land was needed for construction of these five marla housing units.  Peshawar was facing a shortfall of 104, 897 houses while 58,309 houses required in Mardan, 65,749 in Swat, 39,981 in DI Khan, 39,919 in Swabi, 39,712 in Charsadda, 38,244 in Mansehra, 37, 313 in Nowshera and 35, 282 in Lower Dir.

    About 32,751 were needed in Abbottabad, 28,697 in Bannu, 24,646 in Haripur, 24,421 in Kohat, 23,255 in Upper Dir, 20,048 in Buner, 21,529 in Lakki Marwat, 19,281 in Kohistan, 18620 in Shangla, 17,699 in Malakand, 17,355 in Karak, 17,748 in Hangu, 11,711 in Batagram, 10,992 in Chitral, 9,629 in Tank and 4,211 in Torghar.

    He said only 6,500 kanal land was available in Peshawar, 560 kanal in Swat, 377 kanal in Charsadda, 300 kanal and 8,300 land in Hangu for construction of affordable houses. 

    Waqas Anjum said that 15 housing projects including Hangu township on 8,400 kanal and Jalozai Phase III at Nowshera was launched to provide affordable houses to low income groups, labourers and general public.

    The official said that 10,500 housing units in Hangu would  be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs10 billion in next three to five years.

    As many as 900 residential flats would be constructed in three high rise buildings at Nishtarabad, Warsak-I and Warsak-II in Peshawar. Consultants were hired for Warsak-I covering 4.14 kanal and Warsak-II of 3.8 kanal costing Rs3,500 million. 

    A 20 storey high rise building on 36 kanal would be constructed at Nishtarabad in Peshawar City where 300 low-cost residential flats to be built for the underprivileged and poor families.

    Similarly, 2,056 residential flats were constructed for industrial workers with an estimated cost of Rs5.93 billion at Shahi Bala.

    Rehman Baba Complex Peshawar would be constructed on 79 kanal where 2,180 residential flats to be built in three years.

    Jalozai housing project in Nowshera is being constructed on 8,400 kanal where about 9,000 housing units would be built besides 1, 300 residential flats for labourers and general public.

    Under PHA Foundation and KP government’s joint venture project, he said 8, 000 low-cost housing units in first phase would be constructed at Surizai Peshawar.

    Danigram project Swat covering 70 kanal is constructed where quota allocated for widows, persons with disabilities and media professionals.

    Feasibility study and design of new Peshawar housing project would soon be completed while its preliminary zoning plan had already been prepared.

    The deputy commissioners Peshawar and Nowshera has completed verification of 6,571 kanal land. Waqas said high rise buildings having 140 residential flats were being constructed at Hayatabad.

    Residential flats on 331 kanal at Civil Quarters Peshawar were constructed while work on its second phase accelerated.

    Besides constructing residential flats in Mardan and Pabbi Nowshera, he said a residential colony at Dheri Zardad in Charsadda is being launched where 53 housing units in first phase would be built.

    Mulazai housing project costing Rs 260 million completed in Peshawar where construction of houses started.  He said 80pc work on Jerma housing project Kohat having 463 plots completed besides development of 219 residential plots on 218 kanal at Havalian township Abbottabad.

    He said 1,320 low-cost flats were being constructed in Jalozai Nowshera benefiting over 40,000 poorer and labourers, adding 300,000 subsidy was being provided to each beneficiary.

    The cost of each flat was Rs 2.5 million that would be provided to people on Rs 2.2 million. The Bank of Khyber (BoK) was providing soft loans to beneficiaries for its construction.

    Waqas Anjum said that applications from people, government employees, media and special persons were invited for mega housing project at Nowshera with last date July 31, 2023 to be constructed by Provincial Housing Authority (PHA)  Government of Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

    He said these projects was launched as per the government vision to provide affordable houses to all citizens of the Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

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